Friday, August 31, 2007

No More Popcorn

When was the last time you dialed POPCORN? Remember that number? It's the one you could call to find out what time it was. Another piece of history being delegated to Memory Lane as of September 19.

I don't remember the last time I called that number but it must have been over two decades ago. Those of you younger folks that haven't ever called it might want to call it now and hear what will soon be history.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Larry Craig Affair

Yet another politician caught in an embarrassing situation. Senator Larry Craig, Republican from Idaho, arrested in June for supposed lewd conduct in a public restroom.

It's all over the news, of course, but I don't think such incidents raise people's eyebrows as much as they used to even a decade ago.

I was actually surprised to see columnist, Debra Saunders, calling for his resignation. Hey, so what if the guy was cruising a public restroom? I know it's considered tacky, at least in some circles, but so what?

I felt it was a shame he was arrested for not doing anything particularly wrong but I never really questioned him being arrested until I got the heads up from Radly Balko over at The Agitator blog (Thursday's post).

Why exactly was Craig arrested? He wasn't engaged in lewd conduct. He was arrested for trying to find a sex partner in a public restroom. I hadn't looked at it exactly that way. Should it be illegal to go looking for a sex partner? I should hope not.

CLS, over at Classically Liberal, takes the question of the arrest even further, repeating himself over and over again as usual. CLS also comments on Craig's support for so- called "anti- gay" legislation.

He notes the irony [some would say hypocrisy] of Craig's support for anti- gay marriage, and other such legislation, when Craig might well have been fooling around with guys himself.

I can understand the concern with supposed hypocrisy but, despite being a supporter of gay marriage myself, I think someone could be bi or homosexual and still be opposed to gay marriage.

If someone has been know to publicly denounce or demonize homosexuality and homosexual acts and then get's caught with their pants down with the wrong sex, that's a different issue altogether.

I don't know that Craig was outspokenly anti- gay. I haven't seen anyone say he was, at least so far.

All in all, Larry Craig has my sympathy and he certainly shouldn't resign as a result of this incident alone. But, in the end, that will be for the people of Idaho and the senator himself to decide.

If the sex lives of the citizenry are the affairs of legislators then the sex lives of legislators are the affair of the voters.- CLS at Classically Liberal

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Yet another anti- cellphone bill is works its way through the state legislature. This one would prohibit drivers under 18 from, not only using cellphones while driving, but any other communications device including laptops and hands- free cellphones.

A law prohibiting the use of cellphones, by anybody, while driving without a hands free device already takes effect in July of 2008. Seems to me a bit unfair to come up with a different set of rules for teenagers.

I've said before that I opposed the first cell phone ban, and that's despite the fact I find cellphones and their users rude and annoying.

Despite opposing these cell phone bans, I will manage to smile a bit once the law takes effect and we start seeing people being ticketed for using a cellphone while driving.

Too bad we couldn't get some of the nanny- staters to broaden their scope a little and expand their cell phone bans to more than just cars. How about making it illegal to use a cell phone inside businesses or any place large numbers of people congregate?

I can't believe people feel so important that they have to drop whatever they're doing and get caught up in a phone conversation wherever they might be. It can get to the point of being very rude sometimes.

Twice, while in Winco- once just yesterday, in fact- I've seen people hold up the check out process with their gabbing on the cell phone. At least yesterday the girl continued, albeit slower than she could have, bagging her groceries while talking away.

A couple months ago some chick just stopped bagging her groceries entirely and was just laughing and talking away one her cellphone forcing everybody else to have to funnel their groceries through the second check out lane( what do you call those things?). She was oblivious to the rest of the world and people were getting really annoyed at her behavior, myself included.

How rude!

Then again, I had to wonder how many of the people that seemed so annoyed do similar things themselves.
Winco should do what Myrtlewood Liquors, on Myrtle Avenue in Eureka, tried to do. Myrtlewood Liquors used to have a neat sign on their front door that told of how rude it was to be talking on a cellphone while doing business transactions.

It went on to say that, unless you're talking about business pertinent to their store or you're having a heart attack and are calling an ambulance, talking on a cellphone in the store would result in a $20 charge added to their total.

I loved that! I asked the girl at the counter one time if they'd ever enforced that rule. She said she tried to with one guy once and the guy just got all huffy and stormed out of the store. Good riddance.

Something must of gone wrong with their sign, though. They've removed it and now have a bigger sign that just asks people not to use cell phones in their store. I think they should have kept the other one. I asked the owner what happened to the old sign. he said said something along the line of it being a bit too strongly worded. I didn't think so.

So that's what's needed, you nanny- staters out there: A law making it illegal to use cellphones in public places, or some such. Ok, we'll even specify where signs are posted specifically asking people no to use their cellphones. This could become a national movement.

Hey, I'm a libertarian. I don't know that I could publicly support a law like that, but I'll do my best to try and not criticize it too harshly.

I'm sure the powers- that- be and the rest of the nanny- staters won't get started on my suggestion soon. They're probably too busy talking on their cellphones.

Monday, August 27, 2007

California #1 In Licensing

The San Francisco Chronicle advises us on a Reason Foundation study that found California requires more job licenses than any other state in the nation. The Wall Street Journal's, John Fund, opines further on the licensing issue.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The People Have Spoken

Ok. Results of the Arcata/ Eureka Safety Corridor poll are in. "Do nothing" is the winner. I'm sure the powers that be will get right on it and do nothing.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

New E.P.D. Medical Policy

I suppose this change in medical screening policy the Eureka Police Department made makes sense in light of recent events. You can't help but wonder how effective a medical screening would have been in the Cotton case, him supposedly still being violent all the way to jail. How could the medical folks evaluate him, assuming he's still fighting?

It does cover everyone's ass a bit better, though, but that doesn't necessarily equate with saved lives. Sometimes shit happens, regardless.
I can recall a couple incidents with regard to medical screening when I worked at Humboldt County Juvenile Hall. In one case, I suppose I actually violated procedure, with no harm done. In another, I/ we followed procedure but ended up with an almost dead kid.

In the first case, a young indian girl we were quite familiar with was arrested for drunk in public, or some such. She was supposedly really out of it and fighting the sheriff's deputies tooth and nail. The deputies took her to the hospital for medical screening as was standard procedure for intoxicated minors at the time.

Except a short time after we were called, the deputies show up at the door with the girl telling us she was fighting so hard they couldn't draw blood from her and they didn't know what else to do but bring her to us.

We weren't supposed to admit kids like that without medical screening. What to do? This was graveyard shift and it was just me and one female working.

I said to bring her on in and as they led her in I said to the girl (we'd always gotten along well), "R****a, I hear you've started your own little indian uprising...", or something like that.

She started laughing and said, "Hi, Fred.". She seemed to really settle down once she saw some friendly faces. We ended up taking the girl to a room and had her changed into juvy clothes. She hopped onto the bed to go to sleep. Last thing she said to me as I closed the door was, "Don't forget to wake me up for activities.". She seemed fine to me.

Not quite the end of the problem because that was a breach of procedure. When one of the day shift guys showed up a few hours later he was really uncomfortable with the situation. There wasn't much he could do at the time but he was not happy about skipping the medical screen.

I was never reprimanded for that, which surprised me.

In hindsight I wonder if I could of talked her into going back to the hospital with the deputies. That might well have worked. Didn't think of it at the time, though, and it all turned out ok in the end.
The second case was one where a kid was brought back to us as a group home failure. Happens all the time: Kid goes to group home. It doesn't work out and he's back in The Hall again.

As I recall, this wasn't an in custody transfer, meaning he was brought to The Hall by his parents or the group home people. I can't recall who brought him in but he came in willingly. He had plenty of chances to run.

So, I go through the booking procedure and get all his info. He said he was on some medication but didn't have any with him. I can't recall all the medical questions but everything in that case seemed normal at the time.

He is showered, given juvy clothes and taken to a room.

Maybe an hour or so later we go to let the kids out for activities. Kristy opens this kid's door and finds the guy pretty much unconscious on the floor. We had no idea what had happened. Jim, the senior on shift, and I grab the kid and put him in a car. I drive him to the St. Joseph's Hospital emergency room.

(We decided later on that a better choice would been to call an ambulance but hindsight is almost always better than making decisions on the spot.)

He ends up in the emergency room and I did some back and forth with Jim on the phone while at the hospital. We'd came to the conclusion that he must of overdosed on whatever medication he said he'd been taking. He had none with him so he probably took it all before being admitted.

We told the emergency room staff about his likely overdose and I left to go back to The Hall about the time they were shoving a tube down his throat and pumping charcoal, or some such, into him.

The kid actually survived and lives in Eureka to this day. I've seen his face in the local papers at least a couple times when the cops are looking for him. He lives not far from me.

The drug the kid was taking was Elavil, something for some kind of mental condition, depression or some such. One of the other Hall staff told me he talked to one of the county medical staff about the incident. He said the doctor told him, "If you overdose on elavil, you die".

Kid lucked out, despite going through the proper medical screening, at least proper for back in those days. Shit happens, and I don't know any way we could screen a guy for a drug overdose he took just before he was admitted to juvenile hall.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Party Pals?

I must have missed the story on this pit bull attack back in April when it happened. I remember reading about some gal in Mckinleyville getting her face chewed on a while back, but I don't remember it having anything to do with a party.

Regardless, I have to wonder what some of these people were thinking. I love this. After the girl gets chewed on by a pit bull...

One of the party guests carried her several blocks from the apartment and left her on the side of the road, she said. Eventually, one of the guests thought better of that and called for emergency medical assistance."

Isn't that sweet? Someone takes the girl and dumps her on the side of the road. Those are the kind of folks I'd want to hang with, right? In fairness, at least someone ended up calling for some help after all was said and done.

Wonder if that gal will still hang around the same people? I suspect so.

As an aside, I see the guy who owned the dog in that case is being held responsible for the gal's medical bills which are already in the tens of thousands of dollars. Doesn't surprise me at all since she was airlifted to Stanford. Those life flight air services don't come cheap.

The wife was airlifted to UCSF Medical Center last June by Cal- Ore Air Ambulance, or whatever they're called. It's a one hour flight, although it ended up being more like four with all the waiting and such. Got a copy of the bill they sent to the insurance company. It was for over $14,000.

Pricey, to say the least. That doesn't count the $900 bill they sent us for our share of the charges.

If it's not an absolute emergency requiring a medical presence in transport, I'd suggest trying to charter a small plane.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Police Review Boards

Public outrage at Eureka police reaches fever pitch

So says the headline in the hard copy version of the Times- Standard for this latest story on the death of Martin Cotton. I don't see it included in the web version. I'll admit to seeing few people on any given day, but I think that headline is a bit out there.

Sure, the issue of police review boards comes under the spotlight again, but you have to wonder if it's just the same people always clamoring for police review boards that are just making more noise and getting heard after the Cotton death? I don't know of anyone outraged at the Eureka police now that wasn't critical of Eureka P.D. before this latest incident.

As for the matter of police review boards, I suppose I fall in line with some of the Eureka City Councilcritters quoted in the story and perhaps even Cheif Nielsen: I don't have a problem with the idea of civilian police review boards. The question is how much authority those boards should have?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I tried to add a poll to the right side bar to go along with this morning's post but I screwed something up. Now I can't get back to the original post to edit it.

This is actually just a test to see if I can still post. Maybe it's not something I did but a temporary glitch with blogspot? We'll see.

101 Safety Corridor Options

The Times- Standard reports on ideas being thrown around for the Highway 101 safety corridor between Arcata and Eureka. Looks like there's three or four ideas on how to deal with the corridor flying around:

#1: Remove the safety corridor and remove all medians.

I guess that would mean going back to the way it used to be except you couldn't get on or off the freeway at Indianola Road or Jacobs Avenue. Or at least you couldn't turn left in the southbound lane of 101 at those places. That might prove to be a hassle.

#2: Same as number one but includes a overpass/ interchange at Indianola Road so people can enter and exit the freeway there. Sounds expensive.

#3: Same as number 2 but with a traffic light at Jacob's avenue to allow entrance and exits there. Sounds even more expensive.

#4: Do nothing. Leave it as is.

I think I agree with Larry Glass and some of the others. Seems like the safety corridor works fine the way it is now. If it ain't broke, why try and fix it? Would be nice to have an overpass or two on the corridor, though.

I'll admit I still get bugged not being able to use the first median to leave Jacob's Ave. and head back into Eureka. They removed that option some time ago. Now you have to drive a bit north on Jacob's Avenue and enter the highway at the Murray Field turnoff. Not too much of a hassle, but I liked being able to do it the old way.

Hate to see all of the highway between Eureka and Arcata like that, with no way to exit the southbound lane except by going all the way into Eureka.

You can pick which option you like on the poll I've installed below, assuming my copy and paste works. I'll leave the poll up for a week, or so.

Which option would you prefer for the 101 safety corridor between Arcata and Eureka?
Remove safety corridor and close all medians
Same as #1 but include interchange at Indianola Road.
Same as #2 but also include stoplight at Jacob's Ave.
Do nothing. Safety corridor works fine as it is.
Free polls from

Monday, August 20, 2007

Humboldt Supes Follow Mendocino

I usually don't think much of elected officials dealing with issues outside their purview but, with our Board of Supervisors following the Mendocino County BOS in asking Congressman Mike Thompson to support legislation to legalize marijuana, that's one case of Monkey see- Monkey do I don't mind.

Actually, I think a case could be made that legalizing marijuana is a local issue and within the issue of the BOS. Let's hope they all sign on to it.

While they're at it, maybe they could ask Thompson to co- sponsor Rep. Ron Paul's bill to legalize industrial hemp, as mentioned here yesterday. I'm gonna send a fax to his Eureka office as soon as I'm done with my morning blogging. Hope you all do the same.

Remember to refer to HR 1009 as the bill you'd like him to co- sponsor. His Eureka office contact info is:
317 3rd St., Ste. 1, Eureka, CA 95501 Phone: (707) 269-9595, Fax: (707) 269-9598. If you're really lazy, you can go here and send him a message via web form. In any case, do something.
Speaking of industrial hemp, the San Francisco Chronicle reports this morning that a bill to legalize growing of industrial hemp in California is back. The last one passed through the legislature only to be vetoed by the Governator who supposedly feared growers might get in trouble since it was still illegal under federal law. Such B.S.

Then again, when you look at this California bill, do we really want to go with this one. Check out some of the restrictions on the growers:

The current bill would require that industrial hemp contain no more than three-tenths of 1 percent of THC. For the state, farmers would have to: attain a growers' permit; report the progress of the crop's growth; test and keep copies of the test report proving the crops' THC content; and use a GPS tracking system to monitor their crop's movement through the state.

And even with all the restrictions, it only allows for a five year pilot program in four counties and Humboldt isn't one of them.

I appreciate the effort but do we really want to go there?

This is one reason why we need to get Ron Paul's industrial hemp bill moving: So the state legislature won't be running in fear of the feds and thus trying to cover everyone's ass.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Ron Paul Backs Industrial Hemp

Yet another letter to a local paper backing Congressman Ron Paul for the Republican presidential nomination. Despite the writer's contention, I'd have to disagree that Paul has the most popular support of all the candidates. He certainly is generating some interest from all sides of the political spectrum, but it would be foolish to say he has the most popular support.

Speaking of Ron Paul, I just noticed something that slipped beneath my radar screen: Ron Paul is supporting legislation to legalize hemp farming in the United States.

Go, Paul!

No More C Notes

More counterfeit bills circulating in Eureka. Nothing new there, I suppose.

The easy way to solve the problem, at least with large denominations is just to stop accepting large bills. I've seen a few places in town that have notices saying they don't accept $50 and $100 bills. I believe Taco Bell is one of them. Good for Taco Bell.

Problem is, what do you do if someone goes into a restaurant, orders a meal, then tries to pay with a $100 bill claiming he didn't notice the sign? That could cause a problem. I'd suggest taking the bill only after seeing ID and taking a photo of the guy.

Sure, might seem a bit rude for a business to go after a customer for trying to use a large denomination bill, but I think people that carry around 50 and 100 dollar bills for regular use are rude themselves.

Not only is there the problem of counterfeits, it can make giving change problematic. I know I've worked at places where giving change could be a problem on days where we'd receive a bunch of just $20 bills. You can run out of change five times as fast if everybody came in paying with $100s.

I have a couple customers who often pay me, all or in part, with $50 or $100 bills. They get the money from the bank, of course. I can't help but wonder why they don't get their money in smaller denominations?

I shrug it off and don't spend them. I take them to the bank and have them broken down into $10 bills. Too bad everyone else can't seem to do the same.

Friday, August 17, 2007

There's a dead skunk...

in the middle of the road. A dead skunk in the middle of the road. A dead skunk in the middle of the road and it's stinking up to high heaven!- a song someone wrote

Go out to get the newspaper this morning and there's this big, dead skunk right in the middle of E street, in front of my house. I actually don't know if it was stinking as I can't smell skunks. Still, it kinda grossed me out cause some of its entrails were scattered about. YUCK!

Libertarianism be damned! Whose job is it to clean up these things? CALL STREET MAINTENANCE!

I've buried a number of dead animals found around here in my back yard. I'm almost tempted to go bury that skunk. Almost. The guts gross me out. Besides, I have to go to work now.

Would someone please come by and get rid of that dead skunk?

I'm leaving now. I expect it to be gone by the time I get home.

Housing Rights

I'll have to agree with the gal that wrote this piece in this week's North Coast Journal. It sounds like she got the run- around by the landlords in her attempt to rent from them.

Then again, I don't know what she looks like and how she might come off in person so maybe there might have been some red flag the landlords perceived with her? Hmmm... but if that were that case, and I was the landlord, I just wouldn't have called her back.

So then the girl goes on to what seems to be the crux of her story: Your supposed rights as a tenant.

Interesting that she doesn't say that she tried to apply them in her rental attempt, although she suggests that others in similar situations do.

Perhaps she realizes that renting a place under legal threat might not result in a very happy home in either the short or long run. Might it be best to move on and look elsewhere, like she apparently did?

Anyone Remember...

...the Frito Bandito?

He was dumped for not being politically correct. The latino community apparently took offense at his use in advertisements for the Frito Lay Company.

That political correctness has stayed with us through the years. I don't know that I'll ever understand some of it.

Yesterday one of the Governator's political appointees resigned after a certain state senator described this image of a spoofed driver's license, posted on that appointees web site, as "hate speech".

I wouldn't of resigned and, in support of non- political correctness, I'm including the driver's license on my blog.

Some people need to lighten up.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Press- Democrat Dumps Humboldt

Is it something we said?

According to a story in the Business section of today's Times- Standard (not available online, it seems), the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat will no longer be delivering their paper to Humboldt County as of September 1. Seems the 400 copies they were selling wasn't enough to make it cost effective.

I should think so. I can't imagine it being worth it even if they sold twice that many papers. I've wondered for some time how they could afford to ship their papers up here.

Not to worry, though. You can still check out the headlines on their web site, as I do pretty much each day, although if you're used to the hard copy version that might not cut it. I know when my hard copy Times- Standard doesn't get delivered I'm not quite satisfied just going to the T-S web site.

After all, the [free] web site often doesn't have all the news, just like today when this story wasn't included.

Wonder how much longer the San Francisco Chronicle will be delivering up here?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Town Hall Meeting In Cotton Death

I wonder if this town hall meeting that Garr Nielsen, Chief of Eureka P.D., isn't being a bit of an overreaction? Well, not so much an overreaction, but a bit defensive. I wasn't too concerned about the death of that Cotton fellow. Sounds like he might just have over- exerted himself while picking a fight with anyone he could find.

Then again, maybe it's not an overreaction. We've seen on the Humboldt blogs how quickly some are to point the finger at the local police agencies and maybe Garr decided to act first. Either that, or after seeing this notice sent out over the Redwood Peace and Justice Center Announcements e-mail list. About the only thing missing in this announcement is defining Cotton as just a child:

Sun August 12 2007
Eureka, CA

On the afternoon of Thursday August 9th, Martin Cotton II was beaten
severely by the Eureka Police Department [EPD], a sack was thrown over his
head, and he was taken to jail. According to the Sheriff’s Dept, he died
two hours later.

Local papers have given only one side of the account, spinning the story
to support a police department whose image is already marred by several
murders in the last two years. People’s reports to Redwood Curtain
CopWatch share many common threads; facts that stand out starkly against
the media's uncritical parroting of the Sheriffs’ Department press

Martin was involved in a confrontation at the Eureka Rescue Mission.
Rescue Mission staff called the police, who arrived after Martin, unarmed,
had already been ejected from the Mission. The EPD pepper sprayed Martin,
kicked him, beat him with night sticks, and punched him with fists. EPD
pummeled Martin all over his body, including heavily attacking his kidney
area while he was on the ground. There were 6-10 EPD officers present
and involved in the beating.

EPD officers intimidated people attempting to photograph the public incident.

Contrary to the Humboldt County Sheriff's press release, it is clear that
excessive (deadly) force was used.

Martin’s brutal beating was cruel and undeserved; absolutely unwarranted
under any circumstances. EPD took Martin to jail to die, rather than
immediately bringing him to the hospital. This is unacceptable and only
adds to the outrage that we feel.

Redwood Curtain CopWatch believes that as a community we can work towards
creating real justice that heals and transforms rather than destroys and
erases. Police violence does not make us safe. The police, as a
structural component of our society, have not outgrown their long legacy
of protecting the rich ‘from the poor’; and have accelerated their
practice of further marginalizing the people most trampled by our
socio-economic system.

Martin was houseless... And he is someone's son, grandson-- and a brother
and friend to others. We are tired of community members dying at the
hands of police.

Please help us imagine alternatives to the violence of police. Let's work
towards justice that is nourished by knowing our neighbors, taking care of
each other, and relating to each other as dignified human beings.

Please contact Redwood Curtain CopWatch:

I'm surprised I didn't see that announcement on Eric or Herald's blog first.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Look At The MCSD Candidates

The Eureka Reporter takes a look this morning at the six candidates vying for two seats on the Mckinleyville Community Services District. Two are incumbents.

Only two really stand out to me at this point:

Dennis Mayo, of course, but not so much because he's our very own Dennis Mayo. I've read some of his stuff here and elsewhere and the guy definitely has a libertarian streak to him from what I can see.

Adrienne Floureen piques my interest if only because she opposes water fluoridation. Whether she opposes it because of principle or some other reason isn't mentioned. Still, nice to see at least one candidate opposing fluoridation, but her reasons might prove to be a concern once they're known.

At this point it doesn't look like there are any candidates in that race I'd be strongly opposed to. Perhaps Rose or some of the other Mckinleyvillians might give us their take on the candidates?

Hijacked Again!

Earlier this year I might have mentioned that someone hijacked my Humboldt Shooter's Page domain, I got a call, yesterday, from someone in the Humboldt Taxpayer's League letting me know someone snagged the domain, as well.

Boy, you snooze you lose. Doesn't seem to be any good way to keep track of five years gone by- five years is the term we bought that domain for. The guy was sitting right on top of it and, as soon as I let it expire, he snagged it.

I know these guys hijack domains to make money, but I can't figure out how they make money.

You pay money to get the domain. Then you'd have to hope the people whose domain you hijacked would be willing to pay big bucks to buy the domain back from you. I can't believe they actually make money from the links on the silly pages they direct the domain to.

What is it with these people and how are they making money?

As far as my Humboldt Shooters and Taxpayers League pages, they're still up on freeservers, the domain names just don't lead to them anymore. So, I had to go around and change the links with Humguide and everywhere else I had the pages listed.

Now I have to figure some way to remind myself to try and snag the domains back when the hijacker's term expires.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Swimming At Humboldt Beaches?

In the over thirty years I've lived up here I don't know that I've known of more than five people that actually go swimming at Humboldt County beaches. Sure, there are people that surf, but I don't know that I've known more than a few that just went swimming.

Apparently some people do. The ones in this beach episode not long ago were from Redding. I guess they can be forgiven for not knowing better. Still, I've never had any desire to jump in the water at Clam Beach, or any other beach up here for that matter. Too cold.

As an aside, I don't know that I'd consider what the rescuer did in this instance to be good judgment, although to his credit he didn't get out into the water so far he couldn't get back in.

Are there more people swimming at our beaches than I'm aware of?
About 25 years ago a friend at work said he happened upon some visitors to the area while he was at the North Jetty. They were from the midwest, or some such, and came to California to see the ocean and do some beach type stuff.

They went out in the cold, cold water and were freezing on shore when Gary approached them. They said something along the line of, "These California beaches aren't all that we thought they would be. That water's real cold...".

Gary had to explain to them that the warm water beaches were much further south.
Speaking of rip tides; I got caught in a bad one once when I lived in Southern California.

A friend and I went to Newport Beach one time. I believe there was some weather event in Alaska at the time that was causing real high surf. There were few people on the beach that day.

I knew what rip tides looked like but don't recall my reasoning for going in the water anyway.

I get out in the water and the waves are HUGE. They immediately start pummeling the daylights out of me. I spent most of my time diving under water to get away from the waves.

I tried to get back to shore, but I was in a rip tide. I tried swimming sideways to the shore but couldn't get far because of the strong surf.

Luckily I was a pretty strong swimmer at the time and wasn't in immediate danger of drowning.

There were lifeguards on the beach and one was sitting in the tower on the beach in front of me. I was waving my arms at him but he just sat there enjoying the sun. Strange he wouldn't be paying attention to probably the only person in the water.

Finally, I figured the only way to get respite from the wave action was to swim outside of them so I swam away from shore and finally got outside the waves.

I didn't know what to do then but looking further out I could see pleasure boats cruising about. I started thinking the only way to get out of this would be to swim out to the boats- maybe a quarter to half a mile away- and maybe one would pick me up.

No doubt in my mind I could make the swim out there, but could I make the swim back if it didn't work? I was pretty beaten up by the surf at this point.

I decided to make another go for the shore. This time I just tried to let the waves carry me in, crazy as that sounds.

It worked. I just managed to get my feet on the sand but was having a hard time keeping up in the current.

At long last, the friend I was with- all the while back on the beach- noticed I might be in trouble and came out into the water and grabbed my arm, pulling me back to the beach with him. What do you think you're doing??? says he.

Whew! Close call. Nice to be back on dry land after that episode.

The stupid things some people do.

Dealing With Panhandlers

Odd little item in this week's Humboldt Beacon: How to deal with problem panhandlers.

I say odd simply because I don't recall ever seeing panhandlers in Fortuna on the rare occasions I've been down there. I guess they must have them, though.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Barn Cats?

Someone has come up with an interesting way to deal with feral (wild) cats.

There's a small ad or article- probably more of a public service announcement- in the Eureka Reporter this morning. I can't find it online. It's titled Barn Cats Available.

It goes on to say that these folks have a number of cats available for adoption. They were all wild cats that were captured, neutered and vaccinated. Now they're asking for people with barns or other outbuildings to adopt the cats and let them live in the outdoor home you provide.

Interesting idea, and could become a useful one for people that have problems with rodents. All they ask of adopters is that the cats have shelter, food and any medical needs are met.

About the only downside is cats, especially younger ones, do tend to kill birds.

Still, not a bad idea. I wish them luck. If interested in getting a barn cat, call (707) 444-2079.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sue "Never Say Die" Brandenburg

Can't we just drop this? Not if Sue Brandenburg has her way.

I think most everybody except Sue and a few from the Humboldt Taxpayer's League are getting a bit tired of this legal back and forth over the waterfront projects.

I've said before that I can see how some things that went on with Seaport Village and the Eureka Redevelopment Agency might have the appearance of impropriety but, from everything I've seen, I don't see that there's been any harm done.

I say drop it. Sue says NO!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Election Stuff

Who'd a thunk that local leftie, David Cobb, and local right winger(?), Jim Garvey, would agree on anything?

They seem to have found at least one common cause: Publicly funded elections.

Cobb doesn't say much about it in his My Word piece, leaving me to think he'll write further on the subject next week. He writes mostly about the confidence he has with the elections system in Humboldt.

Garvey, for the most part, tells us that politicians are a bunch of bums and the way to fix that problem is to elect a different set of bums. Term limits and publicly funded elections will keep things on the straight and narrow says he.

Whatever. I've said here before I'm no fan of so- called campaign finance reform and am ambivalent about term limits.

Publicly funded elections? Seems to me you still have the problem of a certain group of people deciding who gets the money and, thus, who is allowed to run for office.

Wouldn't that lend itself to the same sort of skullduggery we already have?

I think I prefer the way it is now where pretty much anyone can run for office. Not that they have a chance of winning, but they can still run and raise whatever money they can.

Speaking of elections, I've been trying to ignore much of the news banter about the possible '08 presidential candidates. I haven't even paid all that much attention to my own favorite, Republican Congressman, Ron Paul, despite seeing quite a bit written about him lately.

Hard to ignore him as I don't believe I've ever seem so much support from different sides of the aisle for a dark horse candidate. We've even seen a few letters to the editor of the local papers in support of Paul.

Kind of nice to see that sort of groundswell of support. But let's not fool ourselves into thinking he'll win the nomination. He won't.

Still, I'm willing to wave his flag, but I'll wait a few more months before seriously actually doing anything.

For those of you Ron Paul fans who are interested in waving the flag now, I just noticed this web site selling Ron Paul T- Shirts, among other things.
As far as the Libertarian Party '08 candidates, nothing too exciting to there. If Ron Paul miraculously won the Republican nomination, I'd certainly vote for him. Since he likely won't, I've been trying to decide if I might just not vote for any presidential candidates of any party.

Normally I always waste my vote on the Libertarian Party candidate, whoever that might be, but this time Steve Kubby has thrown his hat in the ring. I really don't have anything against Kubby but his time has come and gone. I really don't want to encourage him by voting for him, not that he would actually know how I voted, or care.

I was having some discussion with myself about whether to vote for Kubby, or not, but a couple weeks ago he took the unusual step of essentially endorsing Ron Paul. I believe he said if Paul wins the nomination, libertarians should vote for Paul. Kubby redeemed himself a bit with me by doing that.

As an aside, Kubby is living in Fort Bragg now. Interesting to note the message the Mendocino County LP has on their web page regarding Kubby (disclosure: I was asked to insert that message by the Mendocino LP Chair).

The other main player in the LP presidential race, at least so far, is self- made millionaire, Wayne Allyn Root.

I'll admit my main reason for being leery of this guy is the Southern CA War Party Libertarians seem to be his most enthusiastic supporters. That might well be more than enough to dissuade me.

However, I was reading an interview of Wayne Root yesterday- which I can't find for the life of me now- where he told how he felt about the War on Terror and the Iraq Invasion, among other things. I felt we were actually pretty close together on the issue. While I'm no pacifist, he didn't sound to be all that much War Party, either.

We'll have to see who wins the nomination this time around. While I was thinking earlier of not voting for anyone other than Ron Paul, these two LP candidates aren't looking so bad that I wouldn't mind wasting my vote on them.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Look Both Ways...

I've been accused by at least one commentor of violating traffic laws by not stopping for pedestrians. Not sure if they were under the impression I don't stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, or what. I do stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. I just usually don't stop for pedestrians on the sidewalk waiting to cross in the crosswalk.

I am right, though, in that pedestrians don't always have the right of way. I've seen this mentioned at least one other time in the papers over the last two weeks. Now, it looks like the Eureka Police Department agrees with me that pedestrians are often responsible when there's a vehicle vs. pedestrian accident:

“In my experience, more often than not, when a pedestrian is involved in a traffic collision, the pedestrian is at fault,”. Eureka Police Officer, Gary Whitmer
Along that same line, I experienced the perfect example yesterday of what drivers shouldn't be doing with regards to pedestrians:

Driving down Henderson Street in Eureka, just a couple blocks from the Eureka Mall. I notice a couple guys in the middle of the block- nowhere near the crosswalk- waiting to cross the street. I'm not gonna stop. Might cause an accident. They can wait for an opening in the traffic.

But not the guy on my right. Nope. He tries to be Mr. Courteous Driver and stops real fast to let the two guys cross. Damn! For a second I thought there was going to be an accident. Lucky he didn't get rear ended.

Speaking of crossing the street, not sure what to think of these pedestrian scrambles that Santa Rosa is trying out.

Horse Carriages Are Back

I'll have to admit I don't think I ever saw the old horse carriages in Old Town, Eureka, back when they had the carriage service years ago. That's probably because I can count on one hand the number of times I visit Old Town in a year.

That said, horses are a fun thing to have around but I'm not sure I understand all the enthusiasm about their return.

The Times- Standard article quotes city council dude, Larry Glass, describing the old carriage business as "a gold mine". He's of the impression the horses were of great benefit to Old Town.

If they were, I have to wonder why the owners gave up on the carriage business?

I vaguely remember reading about the carriage business shutting down some years ago. Can't remember the reason for it, though. Does anyone else remember the details?

I think it's a fun idea, but I'll have to admit to being much like Larry Glass was when the carriages first showed up some years ago. I'm skeptical they can really make a go of it, but I wish them luck.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

News Web Page Upgrades and Redesigns

Looks like our very own James Faulk is getting a job change at the Times- Standard. He'll be the new Web Editor there. Whether that ends up a promotion or demotion remains to be seen.

James will be involved in redesigning and adding new features to the T- S web site. Whether these supposed upgrades to the site end up in being an improvement remains to be seen as well.

Sorry for the negativity, James. Maybe it's just me, but I can't think of one web page that was "upgraded" that actually ended up being an improvement. It seems like it's often just change for the sake of change.

I will admit, though, I thought it was a good move for the Times- Standard to add the e- version of their hard copy paper to the web page.

I understand the North Coast Journal will also be making some supposed improvements to their web page. I told Hank Sims, on one of the other blogs, DON'T DO IT! Why try and fix something if it ain't broke? I feel the NCJ page is fine as it is.

Hank would have none of that. He seems to think the planned changes will, indeed, be an improvement. Only time will tell whether either paper's changes will actually make for a better page.

The first thing James needs to do with the T- S page is get rid of those damned pop- up ads. I can't imagine why anyone would want pop- up ads on their web page.
Speaking of changes on the internet, I receive a daily news bulletin via e- mail from the Sacramento Bee. A little while ago they announced they were going to make some improvements to their bulletin. A few days ago I noticed a link added to their mailer where you could go to customize your daily bulletin.

I went ahead and bit on that one. Kinda sorry I did.

I went ahead and chose the areas I wanted news in. Changes were made. Now, not only don't I like the appearance of the bulletin, it seems pretty dull compared to what I was receiving just a couple weeks ago. More progress in the internet world, huh?

To be fair, I can't blame that on the SacBee. I'm the one who made the changes. If it already worked, why did I try and fix it?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Local Gal Heads To American Idol

Looks like a Mckinleyville girl, Brandy Rose, is going to take a shot at becoming a contestant on the American Idol T.V. show. Best of luck to her.

However, looking at the comments on the Times- Standard web site, some say she has ads on her Myspace page "supporting drug dealing". I guess I could see how some might get that impression but, according to the ad, the stuff they're selling is legal. Not the most wholesome appearing ad, though.

One wonders if something like that could come back to haunt her should she actually be one of the ones who gets picked after the first auditions? There's been other Idol contestants booted from the show for non- wholesome activities in their past.

Brandy also has her own web page where you can hear her sing.
I wonder what that "legal pot" that those folks are selling is? Might it be the same stuff I bought through one of the old underground newspapers when I was a kid?

When I lived in Southern California, I used to buy papers like the L.A. Free Press, the Berkeley Barb and others fairly often. These ads started showing up selling "legal grass". It was much cheaper than the illegal stuff so, out of curiosity, I ended up buying some.

Not sure if I imagined it, or if I actually got a little stoned on it. Kinda looked like pot, though.

I wondered what the heck that stuff was. I finally figured it out.

I used to stash my "legal" pot under a flower pot at the next door neighbor's house. One day I went to go get it and the bag had been pulled out from under the pot and ripped to shreds. There were cat footprints in the dirt around it. A cat had obviously found the stuff of interest.

Catnip, perhaps?

I went over to the pet section of the local Alpha Beta supermarket to see if they had any bulk catnip. They had a small bag of the stuff. That's exactly what it was. I ended up buying it from the store from then on.

Not sure if it really got me stoned, like I said earlier, or if I just imagined it. Nonetheless, I liked the taste of it. When I moved up here in '73 and started rolling my own cigarettes, I continued buying catnip and mixing it with tobacco just for the taste.

I don't recall when I gave up on the catnip habit.

Rio Dell Acquires Celebrity

Looks like Rio Dell has acquired, unless I'm forgetting someone, its first celebrity. Well, at least Dr. Frank Fisher seems to be fairly well known in some circles. I'm not sure I recall hearing the name before.

What I'm wondering is why he chose Rio Dell. Why not Arcata?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Anyone You Know?

Attorney- At- Law, Dennis Beaver's column piqued my curiosity this morning. It's hard to tell if he's actually referring to Eureka in his story as he says precise locations and names aren't being used. To further complicate things, Beaver works out of Kern County.

Still, he does mention Eureka and some cabin south of Eureka. I'm wondering if any of the players involved in the lawsuit described are known to any of us?

Eric, Ed, Bill....anyone want to fess up?

Anyone else familiar with such a case around here?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Should Voters Be Tested?

I agree with pretty much most of what Jonah Golberg is saying here, with the exception of instituting some form of testing to qualify people to vote.

Actually, I might even agree with some sort of test. Problem is, who decides what the test is comprised of and who decides who passes and fails? Sounds like a wide open invite to skullduggery there.

I understand Golberg's concerns, but I think he's not taking into consideration that when you give government the power to give you everything you want, you're also giving it the power to take it all away.

It's not who votes that counts. It's who counts the votes.- Joseph Stalin

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

An Appointment With The DMV?

I have to get my driver's license renewed this month. Since it's been a number of years since I'd had my photo taken, among other things, I'm required to show up in person.

The notification seemed to emphasize making an appointment with the local office to save time although an appointment wasn't required.

Hmm... appointments kinda cramp my style, not being used to have to show up at a certain time very often anymore. Besides, quite honestly, I feel things go pretty quick at the DMV nowadays. The few times I've been in there the last couple years, I've been in and out within 20 to 25 minutes, or so it seemed.

So why make an appointment? Well, just to see how well their online appointment thing works.

Pretty simple, actually. You just select what office you intend to visit, fill in your name, location and select what the appointment is for. Then they tell you when the soonest available appointment is. Not bad.

Except the nearest appointment was August 17 and my license expires on the 18th. Too close for comfort for me.

I'll just stop in today, take a number and wait, as I usually do.